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the longcontinued hostility vith the
reap the whole advantages of their own colonies, and CHAP. great part of those of Spain, by supplying the former directly, and the latter by the merchants of Cadiz and Corunna, or the contraband trade in the West Indies, with the greater part of the manufactured articles which they required. Hence it was that the Spanish merchants sought the materials of their traffic in Belgium or Lancashire, and that the manufacturers of Flanders and England, not Spain, reaped the principal advantages arising from the growth of its colonial dominion.
3. If the physical circumstances of Spain were such as almost to preclude the possibility of manufacturing indus- Effect of try arising among its inhabitants, its history had still more clearly marked their character and occupations. Their bo annals for five centuries are nothing but a continual con- Moors. flict with the Moors. These ruthless invaders, as formidable and devastating in war as they were industrious and orderly in peace, spread gradually from the rock of Gibraltar to the foot of the Pyrenees. They were at last expelled, but it was only after five hundred years of almost incessant combats. These combats were not, for a very long period, the battles of great armies against each other, but the ceaseless conflicts of small forces or guerilla bands, among whom success and defeat alternated, and to whom at length the predominance was given to Spain only by the perseverance and energy of the Spanish character. It was the wars of the Heptarchy or of the Anglo-Saxons with the Danes, continued, not till the reign of Alfred, but to that of Henry VII. Incalculable was the effect of this long-continued and absorbing hostility upon the bent and disposition of the Spanish mind. As much as eight centuries of unbroken peace, during which the southern counties of England have never seen the fires of an enemy's camp, have formed the English, have the five centuries of Moorish warfare stamped their impress on the Spanish character. Engrossing every thought, animating every desire, directing every passion in the coun
CHAP try; uniting the fervour of the Crusader to the ardour
_ of chivalry, the glow of patriotism to the thirst for con
quest; penetrating every valley, ascending every mountain in the Peninsula, they have stamped a durable and indelible character on the Spanish nation. They made it a race of shepherds and warriors, but not of husbandmen and artisans. In the Cid we may discern the perfection of this character, when it was directed to the highest objects and refined by the most generous sentiments; in the indolent hidalgo, who spent his life in lounging under the arcades of Saragossa or in the coffee-houses of Madrid, the opposite extreme, when it had become debased by the inactivity and degraded by the selfishness of pacific life.
4. These circumstances would have rendered it a very 12.
difficult matter, if not an impossibility, for the manufaclaws of Spain in
turers of Spain, had any such sprung up, to have mainregard to
tained their ground against those of northern Europe, money.
even in the supply of their own colonies. But, in addition to this, there was a very curious and decisive circumstance, which must at once have proved fatal to the manufacturers of Spain, even if they had begun to arise. This was the possession of the mines of Mexico and Potosi by the Government, and the policy, in regard to the precious metals, pursued with determined perseverance by the cabinet of Madrid. This was the policy of favouring the importation and prohibiting the exportation of the precious metals, in the belief that it was the only way to keep their wealth to themselves. The effect of this policy is thus described by the father of political economy : " That degradation in the value of gold or silver, which is the effect of the increased fertility of the mines which produce those metals, or the discovery of new ones, operates equally, or nearly so, over the whole commercial world ; but that which, being the effect either of the peculiar situation or political institutions of a particular country, takes place only in that country, is a matter of very great consequence, which, far from tending to make
anybody really richer, tends to make everybody really CHAP. poorer. The rise in the money-price of all commodities, –
1814. which is in this case peculiar to that country, tends to discourage, more or less, every sort of industry which is carried on within it, and to enable foreign nations, by furnishing almost all sorts of goods for a smaller quantity of silver than its workmen can afford to do, to undersell them not only in the foreign, but even in the home market. Spain by taxing, and Portugal by prohibiting, the exportation of gold and silver, load that exportation with the price of smuggling, and raise the value of those metals in those countries much above what it is in other countries. The cheapness of gold and silver, or, what is the same thing, the dearness of all commodities, discourages both the agriculture and manufactures of Spain and Portugal, and enables foreign nations to supply them with many sorts of rude, and with almost all sorts of manufactured produce, for a smaller quantity of gold and silver ? Wealth
of Nations, than they themselves can either raise or make them for b.iv.c. 5. at home.”1
5. The religion which obtains a lasting place in a country is often to be regarded as an effect rather than a cause. Important
effect of the It is the consequence of a predisposition in the general Romish
wa faith. mind which leads to the embracing of doctrines or forms which fall in with its propensities. We are apt to say that the Scotch are energetic and persevering because they are Protestants, the Irish volatile and indolent because they are Roman Catholic; forgetting that the adoption of these different creeds by these different nations was with both a voluntary act, and that it bespoke rather than created the national character. Had the English been of the turn of mind of the Spaniards, they never would have become Protestants; had the Spaniards been of the English, they never would have remained Catholic. But admitting that it is in the distinctive character of RACE that we are to look for the remote cause of the peculiar modification of faith which is to be
CHAP. durably prevalent in a nation, it is not the less certain VII.
that the reaction which it exerts upon its character and 4. destiny is great and lasting. The fires of the Inquisition
were not fed with human victims for three centuries in Spain, without producing durable and indelible effects upon the national character and destiny. Independence of mind, vigour of thought, emancipation from superstition, were impossible in a people thus shackled in opinion; adherence to the faith which imposed the shackles was not to be expected among the educated few, who had emerged from its restraints. Thus the Spanish nation, like every other old state in which the Romish faith is established, was divided in matters of religion into two classes, widely different in point of numbers, but more nearly balanced in point of political influence and power. On the one side were a few hundred thousand citizens in Madrid, Cadiz, Corunna, and Barcelona, rich, comparatively educated, free-thinking, and engaged in the pursuit of pleasure; on the other, twelve millions of peasants in the country, hardy, intrepid, and abstemious, indifferent to political privileges, but devotedly attached to the faith of their fathers, and blindly following the injunctions of their priests, and the mandates of the See of Rome.
6. From these circumstances arose an important difceference between the views of the citizens of the towns and of the towns the inhabitants of the country in political thought and and country in respect of desires. The former, placed within reach of political political opinion. advancemen
advancement, were animated, for the most part, by an ardent desire for freedom, and an emancipation from the fetters on thought and expression, which had so long been imposed by the tyranny of the priests and the tortures of the Inquisition; the latter, living in the seclusion of the country, and having nothing to gain by political change, were enthusiastically attached to the throne, and devotedly submissive to the mandates of the clergy. In the Basque Provinces alone, where important political privileges had from time immemorial been enjoyed by the peasantry,
their loyal feelings were mingled, as in England, with CHAP. attachment to their constitutional rights; in the other – provinces of Spain, they were founded on their entire abandonment. “Viva el Rey apostolico!” was the cry which expressed at once their feelings and their wishes. From the small number of considerable towns in the Peninsula, the largest of which had not two hundred thousand inhabitants, while the generality had not more than thirty or forty thousand, the democratic section of the community was not a twentieth part of the immense mass of the rural population. But from their position in the great towns and fortresses of the kingdom, and their being in possession of nearly the whole of its available wealth and energetic talent, they had great advantages in the event of a serious conflict arising; and it was hard to say, in the event of civil war, to which side victory would incline.
7. The apparent inequality of parties, from the immense preponderance of numbers on the country side, was Disposition more than compensated by the temper and feelings of the of ARMY. This body, formidable and important in all countries, was more especially so from the peculiar circumstances of Spain, which had just emerged, on the accession of Ferdinand, from a desperate war of six years' duration, in the course of which nearly all the active energy of the country had been enrolled in the ranks of war, and the troops had at last, under the guidance of Wellington, acquired a tolerable degree of consistency. These men, and still more their officers, were for the most part democratic. During the long contest in the provinces, the generals had enjoyed nearly unlimited power in their separate commands, and they did not relish the thought of returning from the rank of independent princes to subordinate command. All of them had been brought in contact with the English, numbers of them, in a friendly way as prisoners, with the French troops ; and from both they had imbibed the free spirit and independent thoughts by which both were characterised. Great, indeed, was